A busy day at the Health Committee

Assembly member Marie Waldron

district 75

On April 26, the Health Committee, of which I serve as vice chair, considered 56 bills in a hearing that lasted well into the evening due to time-consuming debates at previous meetings and premature equipment failures. Several important pieces of legislation made it through the committee.

Among them were two bills I introduced, Assembly Bills 2818 and 2768. AB 2818 will ultimately expand the addiction treatment staff in California to support treatment for alcohol and drug abuse.

More professionals in the workforce will lead to better treatment of abusers and help reduce crime rates, reduce the cost of law enforcement, including court and prison costs, and result in less homelessness.

AB 2768 will address the critical shortage of psychiatric beds in California by leading to the development of a real-time Internet-based database providing information on available beds/facilities for the mentally ill. This is a great way to find a bed and treatment when a patient is brought to the ER.

Because some health insurers are reluctant to cover pain management alternatives to pharmaceutical treatments, despite surveys showing that most patients prefer them, AB 2585 (McCarty) will encourage insurers to cover FDA-approved non-pharmacological treatments. Treatments like chiropractic, acupuncture, etc. would be options.

Other bills approved on April 26 include AB2951 (Salas), which will establish a pilot program for cities to receive grants for mobile mental health teams, and AB 2529 (Davies and Calderon), which will fund training programs for federally certified nurse-midwives, to overcome projected obstetrician shortages in many California counties.

These bills have bipartisan support, and most are placed on the Approval Committee’s “approval calendar” to expedite passage. Despite the headlines about controversial bills, we often come together and agree on laws that benefit everyone, regardless of party designations.

Assemblyman Marie Waldron, R-Valley Center, represents the 75th Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Bonsall, Escondido, Fallbrook, Hidden Meadows, Pala, Palomar Mountain, Pauma Valley, Rainbow, San Marcos, Temecula and Valley Center and vista.